Turkey urges Russian Federation and Iran to stop Syria offensive on Idlib


The Kremlin denied the pullout of Russian forces from the Syrian theater was premature.

The events of recent days are a demonstration "that whoever conducted these attacks can still penetrate regime areas and impose costs on the Russians", Cafarella said.

Russia's Defense Ministry admitted on Monday that its air and naval bases in Syria's Humeimim and Tartous came under attack over the weekend by drones carrying explosives, accusing countries with high technological potential of providing hardliners with the UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In a letter sent to top Turkish officials, Russian Federation said it held Turkey responsible for the drone attacks, which it described as a breach of their cease-fire deal in Idlib province, according to the Defense Ministry newspaper.

In Tuesday's statement, it noted a "strange coincidence" of a US military intelligence plane flying over the Mediterranean near the two Russian bases at the moment of the attack.

The small drones were shot down by Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missiles before they caused any damage and there were no casualties, according to a statement on the military's Facebook page. "That action wouldn't have been possible without involvement of American structures", said Gennady Zyuganov, head of the Communist Party and a member of the lower house.

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More than 40 Russian military personnel died in Syria since Moscow launched a campaign of air strikes in September 2015, in many cases using Hmeimim as a base.

The Khmeimim base, the heart of Russia's military operations in Syria, is deep in Syrian-government-held territory and until now had seemed immune to attack, said Maxim Suchkov of the Russian International Affairs Council, who also writes for the publication Al-Monitor.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the allegation was "absolutely false".

Putin later announced Russian Federation would maintain a "permanent presence" at the Tartus and Hmeymim bases.

And perhaps the Kremlin really does believe the US military was behind the attacks, which would be a very serious situation indeed.

Confirming it was the first instance of a mass drone attack launched from more than 50km away, the estimates are that the drones took off from a location of about 100km away from the bases. Moscow and Ankara have backed opposite sides in the conflict, but they struck a deal a year ago to set up de-escalation zones, which also involved Iran, another Assad backer.